You've Heard Of Inflammation. Now Meet Your New Worst Enemy: Inflammaging
You already know the telltale signs of aging: graying hair, achy joints, always misplacing your car keys. But according to new research published in the journalClinical Science, one more thing can be added to the list: gut inflammation.
Researchers from the Norwich Research Park in the U.K. have coined the term "inflammaging"—low-grade inflammation that increases with age—as a result of the study, which looked at the gut barriers (the lining that provides protection for the good bacteria in your stomach, while combatting the bad) of three age groups: children 7 to 12 years old, adults 20 to 40 years old, and the "aging" (67 to 77 years old). According to the findings, interleukin 6 (IL-6), an immune system regulator that triggers inflammation, increased with age, ultimately increasing gut inflammation with age as well.
MORE: 6 Surprising Ways To Fight Inflammtion
Those increased levels of IL-6 compromised the gut's barrier, allowing small molecules to leak through. This leakiness, paired with the reduced immunity in people over 67, makes them more susceptible to diseases such as bowel cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, diabetes, and depression, according to study author Alastair Watson, professor at the University of East Anglia's Norwich Medical School.
Though the triggers of inflammaging are still unclear, researchers believe further research will help them better understand what exactly causes the changes in the aging gut, and find ways to prevent such changes.
(Find out how you can balance your gut bacteria for better whole-body health in .
One possible solution is (what else?) probiotic, but only if gut bacteria turn out to play a central role in inflammaging, according to Claudio Nicoletti, professor at the Institute of Food Research in the U.K. "If the gut bacteria are implicated in this, it opens up the possibility that we can manipulate these through probiotics as a way of keeping us healthy as we get older," Nicoletti said in a press release.
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